With the end of the year approaching, I find myself reflecting on the events of 2010. Of course it’s the year we got our first flock, but it’s also the year our neighboring city, Springfield, MO, gave their approval for residents inside the city limits to have backyard chickens. This has been a long-overdo, much awaited event! We lived in the city for 12 years and I know that it’s possible to garden, grow just about anything you want in a limited space, but I didn’t realize how easy it would have been to have chickens on our small lot. We did have large dogs, Golden Retrievers, and they were a lot more work and demanded much more attention than four birds … Big dogs plus a small yard equals a lot of waste — which has to be disposed of in some way; you can’t compost it and use it as fertilizer. And a bark is much louder than a cluck!
I hope I’ve been an inspiration to my city friends, that even though you might not live in a country setting, it’s still possible to grow and raise your own food. I know that this experience has had a positive influence on my teenage daughters. Even though they may roll their eyes at all the ventures that I take on, I know when they are out on their own they’ll remember how much better food tasted at its freshest!
Yes, we put Christmas lights on the coop! I don’t think the birds care how fancy their home is and it’s obvious that we are a little chicken crazy, but we’re in the Christmas spirit and I think our coop looks festive! It’s also been nice to not have to take a flash light with me at night to check on the chicks, so I might just leave the lights up until July … This is the Ozarks — I can do that!
Related to the season of giving, I found a great cause worth checking out … It’s called “Chickens for Christmas,” a Christian organization whose focus is on Sierra Leone, the poorest country in the world. There, 80% of the people live in poverty and cannot afford adequate income, health care, or education. The organization’s mission is to provide families/farmers with self-sustainable chicken farms.
I know that I take for granted how blessed and fortunate I am that I live in America. I can promote and support issues of sustainability, community gardens, buy local … I enjoy growing and raising my own food, but unlike many areas of the world, it’s not essential to my survival.
So, whether you share a dozen eggs with your neighbor or buy a chicken for a stranger in a foreign country — enjoy your holiday and have a Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year!
View my gardening blog at …the garden-roof coop.